Chayes Fellow Marissa Yu on working at the United Nations Environment Programme in Switzerland

Marissa Yu '17 at the Palais des Nations, the UN's Geneva headquarters.

Marissa Yu ’17 at the Palais des Nations, the UN’s Geneva headquarters.

This summer, I am interning with the UN Environment Programme’s Geneva-based Economics and Trade Branch. My main focus is on a paper concerning environmental provisions in trade and investment agreements.

I started the summer by scoping existing literature, by legal academics and by international organizations, to determine where UNEP can add value to negotiations surrounding legal text in trade and investment treaties. Because this workstream is still being developed, I was able to help determine the direction and content of this first stage of research. My team started with a survey of case law to determine some common challenges for environmental legislation in both WTO law and investor-state dispute settlement. Then, we compiled environment-related texts from trade and investment treaties that entered into force in the past three to four years, and highlighted ones that can potentially address the challenges we isolated in the case law. Examples include exceptions for environmental protection within indirect expropriation, the relationship of multilateral environmental agreement commitments to trade commitments, and implementation mechanisms for environmental commitments. A major part of the paper also examines variations among treaty language, and how each type of clause can make a legal impact on states’ abilities to perform environmental governance. In the end, we produced a 50 page report on recent trends in environmental commitments and presented our findings to UNEP’s Trade, Policy and Planning Unit.

I was also able to attend a conference at the WTO and meet with government missions and academics in order to consider these various perspectives, concerns, and goals while conducting my research. My internship has helped me learn more about international law and better understand the process behind multilateral cooperation to achieve development goals.

Meet the 2015 Chayes Fellows

Nineteen Harvard Law School students have been awarded the 2015 Chayes International Public Service Fellowship this summer. They are working abroad in China, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Namibia, Palestine, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, and the United Kingdom, as well as in Washington, DC. Read the 2015 Chayes Fellows Biographies.

Welcome spring 2015 exchange students!

Spring 2015 exchange students: Naomi Hart, Yanzhu Sun, Jen Eborall

Naomi Hart, Yanzhu Sun, Jen Eborall

Join us in welcoming the three students from HLS’ exchange partner schools who arrived last week.

Jennifer Eborall (Jen) is a student from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Naomi Hart is studying at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Yanzhu Sun is a student at Renmin University Law School in Beijing, China.

They’ve joined two fall semester exchange students who are continuing their studies through the spring semester:

2015 exchange students: Jean, Naomi, Yanzhu, Barrie, Jen

Jean, Naomi, Yanzhu, Barrie, Jen

Jean Grosdidier is a student at Sciences Po in Paris, France.

Barrie Sander is a student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Want to learn more about study abroad opportunities? Visit the semester abroad and HLS-University of Cambridge joint degree program pages on our website. Applications to spend a semester abroad next fall are due by February 15.